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Small victories, large defeats.

Updated: 2017-06-24T17:31:03-04:00


Phillies Trade News: Could Maikel Franco be on the Block?


An anonymous source tells Nick Cafardo that Maikel Franco is very available, so it must be true. AHAHAHAHAHAHA NO! Maikel Franco is not on the trading block. Nevertheless, Nick Cafardo is baiting us with a rumor that doesn’t pass the smell test (scroll down to the second numbered list—#2). I’ll bite, even if just to dismiss it. Generally, Cafardo isn’t all that judicious about the rumors he passes along. I have developed a habit of rolling my eyes at anything Cafardo reports during the hot stove season, unless it’s in the past tense. Specifically, this rumor reads like bullshit. Here’s the report: Once one of the Phillies’ untouchables, the 24-year-old third baseman is more than available, according to a major league source. First, we have an anonymous source. It is almost certainly not a source inside the Phillies organization. If the Phillies wanted to advertise that Franco is available, they wouldn’t advertise in the Boston Globe. Boston might have a problem a thirdbase but Franco is not the answer for a team battling for a playoff spot in a tough division. He’s a long-term investment for a team without a winning imperative (e.g., the Phillies). Moreover, the Globe doesn’t have the same reach as, say, a national outlet or, say, calling up potential trade partners and kicking the tires. It is, I guess, possible that a Phillies front office person talked out of turn, but I find that highly unlikely. Anyone in-the-know on these matters would keep quiet. So, the anonymous source is almost certainly outside the Phillies organization. Perhaps the source is from an org that has had talks with the Phillies about Franco. The question would then be whether those talks amounted to Franco being on the trading block or just preliminary discussions exploring possibilities with no strict objective on either side. Loosely speaking, every baseball player is available in the same sense that every homeowner’s house is available. At the right price, you’d gladly uproot yourself and suffer the hassle of moving. Similarly, the Phillies would be crazy not to listen for a steal. Strictly speaking, however, my house is not on the market, nor are some ballplayers. Franco is like my house. Second, the language “more than available” is suggestive but not quoted. For all we know, that’s Cafardo’s gloss on something he was told that could be spun to mean the Phillies are listening to offers. If the Phillies are listening to offers, is Franco more than available? Is he even available in a practical sense (like, they’re trying to make a deal)? And what does “more than available” even mean? Literally, it’s nonsense. Figuratively, it suggests the Phillies are desperate to move him, and that’s just silly. Why is it silly? To start, the Phillies don’t have a thirdbaseman behind Franco. There is no prospect pushing Franco out yet. Nor will there be soon. Anyone the Phillies placed at third for the remainder of the season—Blanco, Florimon, Kendrick—would be temporary and thwart the purpose of putrid seasons like this one: to develop members of the next competitor. Of course, if the Phillies could land a prospect or two that would accelerate the rebuilding process it would absolutely be worth moving Franco and replace him with a fungible temp for now. But Franco won’t bring back that return right now. Moving him can only slow down the rebuilding process because in order to get high-enough ceiling prospects the Phillies would have to take prospects in the low As who have a higher rate of flaming out. And here we have the most glaring reason that the Phillies aren’t shopping Franco. They would be selling low on a player over whom they have 4 more seasons of control after 2017 and who will start arbitration with bad numbers that will drive a low salary for a player who might still break out. (After all, Franco has an infuriating amount of talent that he can’t quite muster into a long-term MLB regular’s performance. But in light of the homers like he hit last night, it’s a wonder he doesn’t[...]

Phillies 6, DBax 1



The Phillies won 6-1 on the west coast.

As TheGoodPhight’s resident westerner, I usually draw the short straw for the games in Guam and Tokyo and such like, and today’s game is no exception. Played in a place called “Phoenix” where it apparently was like 125 degrees yesterday, I assume this is in the middle of the Australian Outback or the Gobi Desert or something because who the fuck would live in a place where it ever gets 125 degrees.

Anyway, here’s what happened: the Phillies won.

Mark Leiter Jr earned his first big league win, pitching six scoreless innings, scattering three hits and a walk, and striking out five. FLARRDY GRUVBS tripled, doubled and scored a run; and Maikel Franco and Tommy Joseph hit their ninth and twelfth home runs of the season, respectively.

After Leiter was done, Controversy Neshek pitched around a single to strike out the side in the seventh; Joaquin Benoit allowed a run in the eighth but kept it clean; and Hector Neris pitched a perfect ninth.

Just like we drew it up.

With the win, the Phils improve to 24-48; while Mordor drops to 46-28. Game two in this series is later today on the surface of the sun, as the Phils send Ben Lively to the hill against some dude named Ray, who I assume everybody loves.

Meanwhile, the Alaska Goldpanners swept both ends of a double-header against the San Diego Waves, winning a 13-12 slugfest in walkoff fashion, thanks to Jake Hazard; and clobbering the Waves 9-2 in the second. Also an eight year old named Peyton threw out a pretty damn good first pitch strike.

Thanks for humoring me, folks. Feel free to add any additional—actual—comments about the Phillies game. See ya “tomorrow.”

Game Thread 6/23: Phillies at Diamondbacks



What is this feeling, so sudden and new?

It’s always a new and strange feeling the day after the Phillies win. It doesn’t happen that often, so I try and enjoy it while I can. Of course, yesterday’s win came with some weird drama, but you can’t have everything.

Today's Lineups

Cameron Perkins - LF Daniel Descalso - LF
Howie Kendrick - 2B David Peralta - RF
Aaron Altherr - RF Paul Goldschmidt - 1B
Tommy Joseph - 1B Jake Lamb - 3B
Maikel Franco - 3B Chris Owings - SS
Odubel Herrera - CF Brandon Drury - 2B
Freddy Galvis - SS Chris Iannetta - C
Cameron Rupp - C Rey Fuentes - CF
Mark Leiter - RHP Patrick Corbin - LHP

The Phillies have had some impressive pitching lately. Nick Pivetta and Aaron Nola both had fantastic starts, and now it’s the turn of... Mark Leiter Jr., in his first major league start.

Leiter is facing a frankly fearsome Diamondbacks lineup. (They’re not tied for second in the NL West for nothing.) So good luck to him! We’re behind him! And hopefully, he knows how low our bar is as Phillies fans. Don’t give up like 10 runs, and besides that we’ll be happy.

Discuss the game in the comments below.

Phillies drama: Pat Neshek, Pete Mackanin have conflicting stories again



Someone here isn’t telling the truth.

The Phillies won on Thursday, which is great. But even that wasn’t drama-free. And no, I’m not talking about another Odubel Herrera baserunning error (though that did happen). This is drama between reliever Pat Neshek and manager Pete Mackanin.

In the eighth inning of Thursday’s game, Pat Neshek came in with one out and needed just five pitches to get the final two outs. It was another perfect performance in a string of perfect Neshek relief appearances. But with just five pitches under his belt, Mackanin told Stephen Gross of the Morning Call that he wanted Neshek to go back out for the ninth.

Here’s where things get interesting. Mack told the Morning Call that he asked Neshek to go back out, but Neshek declined. Here’s the quote.

"I asked him to go back out," Mackanin said. "He said he would rather not, he didn't feel like he had it."

Okay, pretty cut-and-dried. OR IS IT?! Because back in the clubhouse once the game was over, Neshek said that Mackanin had never asked him to go back out.

What’s nuts about this, as if this situation wasn’t kind of crazy to begin with, is that this is the second straight day this has happened. On Wednesday, Mack told the press that Neshek wasn’t available due to soreness. But Neshek said that Mackanin had given him the day off when he got to the clubhouse.

I want to give everybody the benefit of the doubt here. After Wednesday’s non-agreement, I thought it was possible that one or the other was misunderstood. Though I’m not sure how Pete got “I’m sore, I can’t pitch” and Neshek got “You’ve got the day off” from presumably the same exchange. But I wasn’t there, it could happen!

Thursday’s miscommunication, though, makes me pretty sure someone is lying. This isn’t a matter of what words Mackanin chose, he either approached Neshek or he didn’t. Neshek is essentially saying that Mackanin made up an entire exchange between the two of them.

That Mackanin is lying here seems pretty unlikely, especially since it’s his job to not just win games, but add and remove pitchers from the game. He could be trying to cover his ass, but considering how shitty the team has been lately, this seems like a ridiculous thing to cover his ass over.

The more likely scenario? Neshek wants off of the Phillies. Infuriating the coaching staff and front office is a great way to make sure the team doesn’t keep you for rebuilding purposes. Neshek is definitely infuriating them by obliquely accusing the manager of lying.

Jayson Stark on the state of the Phillies rebuild


On Episode 126 of The Felske Files, host John Stolnis speaks with Jayson Stark about whether the 2017 season has set the rebuild back and, if so, by how much. Episode 126 of The Felske Files is brought to you by Anthony Arot and The Nash Wealth Management Group! Check them out here! The 2017 season has been so bad that, even when the Phillies win, they still kinda lose. In the series finale against the St. Louis Cardinals, the Phils won 5-1. Aaron Nola pitched brilliantly. The offense provided him with enough offense to get the job done. All in all, it was a rare time in Phillies land to #RingTheBell (Felske Files store #RingTheBell T-shirts can be found right here!) But all is still not well. Odubel Herrera suffered two additional brain farts in Thursday’s victory, getting picked off third base with one out by Yadier Molina, then failing to run on a 3-2 pitch with two out. Couple that with Wednesday’s failure to adhere to third base coach Juan Samuel’s stop sign, and Pat Neshek’s open disagreement with manager Pete Mackanin over his usage, and you have a toxic brew. Joining The Felske Files podcast this week to talk about the state of the rebuild is former ESPN baseball analyst Jayson Stark, who shares his thoughts on the 2017 season and the current state of the rebuild. Here’s a hint... it’s not going great (interview starts at 16:27 mark). width="100%" height="400" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src=""> Among the items discussed... Stark relays an interesting story from his time on the Phillies beat involving the firing of the namesake of this podcast, John Felske. Is this the worst Phillies team that he’s ever seen? The 1997 Phils may have been more unwatchable, if that’s even possible. This was never going to be a .500 team, and realism needs to embraced. Aaron Altherr is the one guy who has shown he is an everyday player in the big leagues. Phillies have at least one building block. There is worry around baseball about J.P. Crawford. It’s clear Crawford is not the team’s best prospect and is clearly no longer a Top-10 prospect in baseball. Where are the star-making players in the Phillies’ system? Given the steps backward the team has taken, will any of the top free agents after 2018, like Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, be willing to join the Phillies if the team keeps playing like this next year? It’s time for people to stop using the word “tanking” when talking about rebuilding baseball teams. Is Pete Mackanin the long-term manager of the Phillies? Probably not. Jayson discusses his future after his departure from ESPN. Also, 94 WIP’s James Seltzer, from the Phillies 24/7 podcast, joins the show to talk about the Odubel Herrera shenanigans, the Neshek-Mackanin angle, and which five players in the entire Phillies organization would you keep if you could only keep five? PLEASE VISIT THE FELSKE FILES TEEPUBLIC.COM STORE! Click right here for phenomenal T-shirts and other apparel, including these sweet tees! IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO ADVERTISE WITH THE FELSKE FILES, please email John Stolnis at I have rates to match every budget! PLEASE CLICK HERE for the official Felske Files iTunes feed. Also please rate the show (5 stars, obviously!) and leave a review. Not only do we love to hear your feedback, but this also helps other Phillies fans find the show. In addition to my work here at The Good Phight, check out my work at Follow this podcast on Twitter: @FelskeFiles. Follow the Felske Files on SoundCloud. Check out the brand new Felske Files Facebook page, and please LIKE the page!!! Rate The Felske Files on Stitcher. Follow the Felske Files on Inst[...]

Slings and Aaron: Phillies 5, Cardinals 1


Aaron Nola left the rest of the team little room to blow this game and it worked! As we approach the midway point in this Phillies season, our attention might drift toward the behind-the-scenes drama. Nobody enjoys failure. As the frustration mounts, the ties that bind will fray and let loose the furies jailed therein. We saw a glimpse of that last night, when Odubel Herrera infuriated Juan Samuel by blowing through a stop-sign at third. Today, Samuel showed indifference toward Herrera’s complaint about a call at third. Perhaps we’re seeing drama overflow into the game. When the outcome on the field is as predictably depressing as the Phillies have been, it is tempting to scour the players and coaches for their mental states because, hey, at least that is interesting and suspenseful. But we shouldn’t let that temptation distract us from the genuinely positive developments as they saunter by. Take Aaron Nola’s performance today. We haven’t seen this version of Nola since early June of 2016, before his eventually revealed injury soured him. Nola was able to locate each of his pitches, keeping them down and generating whiffs and groundouts. Slurve #1 flashed the whiffle-ball movement away from the righty’s bat while #2 dove beneath them. His changeup slid arm-side like a Valenzuela screwball. And his fastballs stayed mostly on the paint. Moreover, his excellence seemed effortless, keeping runners off-base, especially early, and often needing fewer than 15 pitches to retire the side (and as low as 5). Ultimately, he produced an impressive line: 7.1 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 8 K, 1 R, 1HR. Given the strikeouts, the opponent, and the sheer look of his performance, this one fairly surpasses his dominance of the Braves on June 6th (incidentally, the last time the Phillies defeated an NL opponent). When we add Nola’s line to his fellow starters’ in this series the picture looks even rosier. Phillies starters combined to throw 20.1 IP, record 22 K, allow just 5 BB, and hold the Cardinals to 5 R. If the Phillies starters can consistently record a 1.00 WHIP or lower and 9+ K/9, I think we’ll all be a bit happier. (Of course, the Phillies were outscored 16-12 in the series thanks to the bullpen. But let’s not talk about that just now.) Granted, Jeremy Hellickson’s performance was more weak-contact than dominance and he’s a short-term piece, but Nick Pivetta has backed-up excellent starts and now Nola looks every bit the top-end starter he was drafted to be. Once again, we have a glimmer of hope that at the end of this slog of a season, the Phillies will have the foundation for a competitive rotation. Coming into the game, I felt a loss coming. Carlos Martinez started for the Cardinals and he’s been excellent all season, posting a sub-3.00 ERA. He’s a typical power-pitcher, with a fastball touching triple-digits and a hard curve to get whiffs. In other words, he’s the sort of pitcher we’d expect the Phillies to give very little trouble. But Martinez was not at his sharpest today and it showed from the first inning on. There, Freddy Galvis fell behind in the count, and Martinez tried to put him away with a sharp curve at Freddy’s feet. Martinez left the curve up a bit, however—right in that spot where lefties can exploit an upper-cut swing for maximum effect. And that’s just what Galvis did, dropping a fly ball just over the rightfield wall for a solo homer and early lead. Martinez more or less cruised from then on, although he could never overwhelm the Phillies lineup with strikeouts as he might like. Then in the 5th, Tommy Joseph tagged a high, center-cut fastball to make the score 2-0. After that, the Cardinals once again did their best to help the Phillies score. A combination of worm-burner singles and errors by the middle infield led to a two-out run, which pushed the lead to 3. Suddenly, the Phillies had a comfortable lead, in light of Nola’s pitching. [...]

Game Thread 6/22: Cardinals at Phillies



Nowhere to go but up!

Well, last night certainly was a game, wasn’t it? It had all the aspects of a game. Two teams, one winner, one loser. And that’s all that needs to be said about it, now and forever. Let us remember it as nothing but a game and never speak of it again.

Because today is a new day! New day, new game, a whole new smorgasbord of mistakes to make! And not make, of course! Making mistakes isn’t their only option. They know that, right? I’m going to assume they know that.

Today's Lineups

Matt Carpenter - 1B Cameron Perkins - RF
Tommy Pham - CF Freddy Galvis - SS
Stephen Piscotty - RF Odubel Herrera - CF
Jedd Gyorko - 3B Maikel Franco - 3B
Yadier Molina - C Daniel Nava - LF
Jose Martinez - LF Tommy Joseph - 1B
Aledmys Diaz - SS Andres Blanco - 2B
Paul DeJong - 2B Cameron Rupp - C
Carlos Martinez - RHP Aaron Nola - RHP

Okay! Let’s get excited! Aaron Nola! Cameron Perkins! Are you excited yet?! Well get there, because those two are sort of at the top of the excitement scale for today.

At least we get to hear Cameron Perkins’ walk-up song, “Make My Dreams” by Hall & Oates. That’s so awesome that it’s almost worth the entire game. Almost.

Discuss the game in the comments below.

Phillies MLR 6/21/17: The number of the day is 48


Phillies Minor League Roundup for 6/21 Today’s Probables: LHV: Tom EshelmanREA: Drew AndersonCLR: Jacob WaguespackLWD: TBDWIL: Julian Garcia Lehigh Valley 6, Pawtucket 3 Cesar Ramos - 6 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, BB, 2 K, HR, 5 GB, 3 FBJ.P. Crawford - 1 for 5, 2B, 4 RBI, 2 KRhys Hoskins - 2 for 3, 2 BBDylan Cozens - 1 for 5, 3 KNick Williams - 0 for 3, R, BB The IronPigs make this one exciting, scoring 5 runs in the top of the 9th and doing so with just 3 hits in the inning. They received help via an error and 3 walks. J.P. Crawford played the hero, lacing a 3-run double to take the lead. It’s mostly a meaningless stat and this pitcher isn’t very good, but Pedro Beato notched his 22nd save of the season last night. That is best in the International League with the next closest competitor having just 10. Reading 11, Akron 2 Brandon Leibrandt - 6 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K, 4 GB, 5 FBTom Windle - 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 KAlexis Rivero - 1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, HRZach Coppola - 2 for 4, RBI, K, SBScott Kingery - 2 for 4, K, SB, CSAndrew Pullin - 1 for 4, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI, SBCarlos Tocci - 2 for 5, R, RBI, KMitch Walding - 1 for 5, 2B (missed catch error)Jiandido Tromp - 3 for 4, 2 R, 2B, HR, KMalquin Canelo - 2 for 3, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB, SB Brandon Leibrandt earns his 6th save and has had a pretty good run as of late. In his last 6 starts he has compiled: 37.1 IP, 38 H, 7 ER, 14 BB, 23 K. The walk-rate remains high, but it has been an encouraging stretch for the 24 yr old lefty. Andrew Pullin swats his 14th HR and Jiandido Tromp contributes his 7th. That is back-to-back games with a dinger for Tromp. Scott Kingery steals his 19th base, which is just one off the league-lead. Despite having one homerun in his last 16 games, Kingery still leads the league in that category. Clearwater 5, Bradenton 4 Cole Irvin - 7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 6 GB, 6 FBMatt Hockenberry - 0.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, K, 2 HRJeff Singer - 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, KMark Laird - 2 for 5, R, RBIGrenny Cumana - 0 for 4, R, BB, KHerlis Rodriguez - 1 for 3, BB, K, SBWilson Garcia - 1 for 4, HR, 3 RBI, KCornelius Randolph - 0 for 3, BBJan Hernandez - 0 for 3, BB, 2 K, SBDrew Stankiewicz - 0 for 1, R, 3 BB, CSAustin Bossart - 1 for 4, R, KEmmanuel Marrero - 1 for 4, 2 K Cole Irvin gets his first win since April 28th and first time going into the 7th since April 21st. Still, the 23 year old lefty sports a 2.55 ERA and 52/14 strikeout to walk ratio in 67 innings this season. Wilson Garcia got the offense started with his 5th HR of the season. A late surge against Temple alum Matt Hockenberry gave the Threshers a scare, but Jeff Singer held it down with his 14th save. West Virginia 7, Williamsport 2 Will Stewart - 4 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, K, WP, 8 GB, 3 FBJhon Nunez - 3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, BB, 2 KRandy Alcantara - 2 IP, 2 H, 4 R, 3 ER, BB, KRaul Rivas - 0 for 2, BB, K, SB, CSJosh Stephen - 1 for 4, RBI, K (fielding error)Jhailyn Ortiz - 0 for 4, K (fielding error)Greg Pickett - 1 for 4, 2B, KCole Stobbe - 1 for 4, R, 2 K (throwing error)Gregori Rivero - 1 for 2, 2B, RBI (passed ball)James Lovett - 0 for 2, 2 KRodolfo Duran - 0 for 3, BB, 2 KJonathan Guzman - 0 for 2, BBJuan Luis - 1 for 3, R, 2B After spending the last 2 seasons with the GCL Phillies with mixed results, Will Stewart finally makes his Williamsport debut. The 20th round pick out of the 2015 draft didn’t fare quite well, throwing just 37 of his 72 pitches for strikes. It probably didn’t help that the defense around him (and his fellow pitchers) was less than stellar. The offense however went 1 for 8 with RISP and left 5 on-base. 19 year old Cole Stobbe has opened the season with hits in all 3 games (4 for 11). Greg Pickett has done the same, but has racked up 7 strikeouts already in the process. [...]